It probably seems as if a black whole swallowed me the past few days, it didn’t. I just took a little break and visited the old home, London that is. I was lucky enough to get a spell of nice weather and enjoy the outdoors. My visit was not as long as I would have liked it to be, but certainly very well spent. And it brought to mind, I have never made any mention of the Greekiness of London.
In this mosaic of languages and culture there are some Greek smudges you can amuse yourself with. It’s not like the ubiquitous Italian, or the Spanish tapas or the much loved Ruby. Greek hubs are normally tiny establishments scattered all over London. For souvlaki I used to frequent local kebab shops, Turkish run, a good approximation but not quite the real thing. There is a grocer’s down at Bayswater, the famous and very very old Athenian Grocery where you could get the essentials for pasticcio or the odd Greek chocolate. Yes, I felt deprived of chocolate, the one with almonds, I could never find the real thing. Ha, I said it! Some Arab delicacies as well, so definitely worth the effort.
There is also Green Lanes, where I would venture for some honest, true bread. I cannot stand toast (sorry, I only bought it to make breadcrumbs), but truth to be said bread situation in England is improving! You can find a wonderfully fresh and crusty loaves at any farmers market.
But I am regressing, here is a list of a few really good Greek places I would highly recommend so that you can get your Greek fix. I promise none of these come with Zorba or the bright blue meander.
1. Byzantium cafe a visit to this place is an act of reverence. One of the oldest places around, it’s proximity to the Greek church, Aghia Sofia in Bayswater makes the place super-busy after mass but it is definitely worth a stop for frappe, spinach pie or galaktoboureko if you are around.
2.Carpo for ice cold cappuccino and nuts. I went there for a quick coffee break with a colleague. He is a true Greek coffee lover but it was not just the freddo cappuccino I was longing for, it was the Florentines that almost made me cry. True, crunchy and chewy Florentines, it was like opening a childhood cupboard.
3. The Life Goddess Deli and bistro – wonderful dishes cooked on the day – you will never find the same thing so pop in to see what is cooking. If not in the mood for food, check out their selection of wines, their catalogue is quite lengthy. Also excellent delicatessen material.
It’s lunch time! #thelifegoddess #KinglyCourt #Carnaby #great #greek #lunch #homemade #Storestreet #notjustanothergreekrestaurant Μια φωτογραφία που δημοσίευσε ο χρήστης The Life Goddess (@thelifegoddess) στις
4. And of course there is souvlaki! True to its name Suvlaki at Soho serves exactly that. With Elias Mamalakis signing the menu I am sure you are in for a good treat. And in case you haven’t heard of him, he is the Jamie Oliver of Greece before Jamie even existed. He also very kindly let me translate and publish in English a bit of his very thorough list of Greek cheeses.
It’s almost time to wrap up the week… #Suvlaki #Soho #GreekFood #Friday Μια φωτογραφία που δημοσίευσε ο χρήστης Suvlaki (@suvlakilondon) στις
5. The Greek Larder: Another new Greek establishment that came to me highly commended by good friends. Unfortunately it was a bit out of the way for me and didn’t get a chance to visit but the menu looks exceptional: good old dolmadakia, fried kefalotiri (yellow cheese) with Greek thyme honey, Greek sausage and horta (seasonal wilted greens) salad you are definitely in for a treat.
Is there another Greek place you have enjoyed in London or elsewhere in the UK? If so, do let me know in the comments.
With love from Athens
PS These anchovies are marinated and they will be with you soon!by